As some of you may know, I am trying to cook an entire cookbook called Plenty (by Yotam Ottolenghi). I decided, after much internal debate, to take this cookbook with me to Mexico, knowing full well that it would probably be fairly difficult to cook many of these recipes here. The main problem, or rather two main problems, are a lack of oven and lack of ingredient availability. I don’t actually like baking, so the lack of oven isn’t really a problem. But some recipes call for a few minutes of roasting, or finishing off, in the oven. I looked online and found some fairly odd videos of how to bake bread on the stovetop. I also have a microwave. I am experimenting with this – yesterday I made stuffed onions entirely on the stove and they still tasted delicious.
(delicious stuffed onions)
The lack of ingredients is a bit more challenging. Or rather, lack of knowing where to get the ingredients. Near my house I have several options – Superama, owned by Wal-Mart (the largest private employer in Mexico), a small produce stand open every day, a market that I am not afraid of about 30 min walk away (San Cosme), a market I am afraid of a bit further (la Merced – I have never been there – and the food part is probably not very overwhelming) and a tianguis (outdoor market) every Sunday. There is another tianguis a bit further away that is open on Saturdays as well. The annoying part of these markets is that I’m never sure if I’m getting ripped off. Of course there’s the cheese store open every day, and the organic store not too far away either. The organic store does not sell everything I want it to, and while Mexican cheeses are delicious, they are all creamier than the ones at home, and there are some kinds that I just don’t know how to find.
My room in the Casa Tarami (kitchen section)